Despite its rather high barrier to entry (all-CG animation, anthropomorphic animal characters, Netflix exclusive, etc.), the first season of Beastars exceeded expectations and garnered a sufficient fan following. That’s because, once you look past the initial oddness, you’ll find a deeply intriguing story about good people just trying to live in a fundamentally hostile world. But does season 2 live up to the demographic-shaking appeal of its predecessor? Let’s see!
Gives Even More Depth to This World
One of our favorite parts of Beastars is how much effort it puts into its worldbuilding. Mangaka Paru Itagaki and Studio Orange have thought through every detail of how a society populated by humanoid animals would actually work: characters with wool can’t wear static-y polyester, each species has a dedicated room at Cherryton School to cater to their needs (like the moonlight-filled wolf room), chickens can get extra money on the side by selling their eggs, etc. And then, of course, there’s the black market where carnivores can be free of the forced vegetarianism and weakening medications imposed on them by normal society and act out their most primal desires.
Season 2 expands on this aspect in particular, exploring the lengths that carnivores will go to in order to justify eating their own friends and neighbors. Riz convinces himself that devouring Tem was “the ultimate expression of friendship between a carnivore and an herbivore”, since he threw away his medication to show Tem his “real self”. He keeps this side of him carefully hidden behind a friendly façade, but when Legosi pieces together the evidence and confronts him, he becomes laser-focused on taking out this threat to his private life of violence. It makes sense in the reality that Beastars has set up for itself, and it’s also a clever parallel to people in real life who get away with heinous acts for years because they keep it hidden from others and make astounding leaps of logic to downplay how evil it is. Beastars may be odd, but there’s no doubt that its messages are effective.
Fleshes Out Character Relationships
Season 1 largely focused on the relationship between Legosi and Haru, portraying their budding romance as a “star-crossed lovers” scenario where the society that they live in would never allow such a union to prosper. Haru takes a backseat this time (which is unfortunate, since she’s a great character) to allow Legosi and Louis some more screentime together. Legosi gives up his normal life to train nonstop with the black market interventionist Gohin, pushing away his friends so he can make Cherryton School a safer place for herbivores. Louis seeks justice in a different way—he kills the leader of the Shishigumi lion mafia, becomes their new boss, and tries to run the underworld into the ground by force.
These two estranged friends clash with each other in fascinating ways while reaching toward similar goals, which makes it all the more rewarding to see them finally work together in the final fight. Legosi and Louis didn’t seem to understand one another before, but now that they’ve realized that they’re two sides of the same coin, their relationship becomes the true definition of “the ultimate friendship between a carnivore and an herbivore”.
We do wish that other characters like Haru and best boy Pina had more to do this season, and manga readers have told us that some important details to do with Legosi’s parentage were left out, but Beastars Season 2 is still a solid anime that fans of the first iteration shouldn’t miss. But what did you think about it? Were there any moments that stood out to you for better or worse? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!